An appeal for computers for school pupils in Lewisham

This is a guest post by Manisha Patel and Stephanie Brobbey

Covid-19 has revealed the extent to which some schools are underfunded and this has

exposed “digital poverty” particularly in schools located in deprived areas. While

schools shifted to online learning following closure, the reality is that many pupils

across the country are simply unable to complete their school work at home.

Despite the Government’s pledge to provide the most disadvantaged pupils with

laptops, there are still thousands of pupils who have yet to receive the devices which

will enable them to continue learning while they are unable to physically attend school.

Although some year groups have now returned to school, it would seem that not all

schools have been able to reopen.

Education is being delivered online and once again, the poorest and most vulnerable

families are being affected. In some cases, children have no access to any devices.

Others are having to wait until a parent returns home from work late at night in order to

complete school work on the only device in the household.

Sadly some cannot even afford WiFi.

There are grave concerns that the attainment gap between those who are disadvantaged and those from more privileged backgrounds will increase exponentially.

We do not want our most vulnerable children to fall behind: not on our watch.

We, as members of a working group at The Conduit, are supporting Addey and Stanhope school in Lewisham and looking for individuals and corporates to donate a total of 150 desktop computers, laptops or tablets (together with chargers if possible) and WiFi

dongles for their pupils.

“We are truly a family at Addeys. We care about each other and look after each other,

no matter where we are.

Right now, in these very difficult times, more families than ever are facing financial

hardship. With parents and carers losing incomes, an increasing number of students

and their families are in need of our support. We are working around the clock to

ensure that they get this, and want to do even more.

While schools remain closed, our teachers have been providing an extensive,

innovative programme of home learning. We have provided many laptops to families

who require them, but we know we will need more. Although the government recently

announced an initiative to provide some resource to disadvantaged students, we

know that the majority in need will be excluded from this.

We urgently need your help to raise funds to make sure that all our students can

continue to learn in these unprecedented times.”

Jake Armstrong (Business and Computing Teacher), Jan Shapiro (Headteacher) and

Michael Scott-MacDonald (Director of Resources) of Addey and Stanhope School.

You can find further details regarding donations, specification for devices and

information here.

Thank you for reading!

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